Crime Does Not Pay was an anthology radio crime drama series based on MGM's short film series. The films began in 1935 with Crime Does Not Pay: Buried Loot. For the most part, actors who appeared in B-films were featured, but occasionally, one of MGM's major stars would make an appearance.
The radio series aired in New York on WMGM (October 10, 1949-October 10, 1951) and then moved to the Mutual network (January 7-December 22, 1952). Actors included Bela Lugosi, Everett Sloane, Ed Begley, John Loder and Lionel Stander.
(Audio Files Sourced: Crime Does Not Pay - Free OTR Shows
April 10, 2010
Crime Does Not Pay
Overview: This is an anthology of crime --mostly gangster--stories. You might say it is a biography of criminals.
My Thoughts: the first 5-10 shows are incredibly violent with very graphic depictions of murder. Rather than gunshots, this show has the killers talking about how they're going to murder in a very casual way. (Often, it is done by strangulation.) This is followed by a depiction of the pleading, and/or struggles, and eventual deaths of the victim. I've never heard anything like it on any other crime show. After that, the violence is toned down to the usual gunshot murders -- minus the pleading and struggling. There must've been a lot of complaints that caused the change.
Structure: It's an anthology that shows the progression of a criminal either from the start of his career or from a turning point in his career. All the shows either end in death or arrest -- showing that crime doesn't pay. All the shows are told from the perspective of the criminal. Typically the criminal starts off with some small successes, but is finally arrested or killed due to his own arrogance and/or stupidity rather than any brilliant police work.
At the end of the show, the lead actor comes back and gives a tedious, politically-correct, leftist lecture about the origins of crime and what can be done to prevent it. These lectures are often laughably naïve, but not always.
Each show begins with a teaser taken from the middle of the episode. I usually fast forwarded to about 1:45 where the beginning of the show is introduced. For some bizarre reason, almost all of the shows have more than four minutes of dead air at the end.
Writing: The shows are consistently well--written with originality and nuance -- and not too much repetition. Unlike some other shows, the situations seemed very realistic and plausible.
Acting: most of the acting is very good.
Production Values: the sound effects are outstanding, and never interfere with the suspension of disbelief.
Overall: this is a very odd show. it actually seems as if the network/studio did the show in order to thumb their noses at the censors. It's supposed to be a show that makes up for all the violent gangster movies that the studio was making, but it actually is more violent than anything out there. If you like Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas, the Sopranos, etc., you will probably like this gritty, realistic show. It's definitely a guilty pleasure that might just rot your soul. Personally, I much preferred Dragnet with its human, likable cops. Crime Does Not Pay has no one to root for.